Acceptance into university [CSK7769]

Sources available to the IRB Documentation Centre indicate that a "high pass" matriculation mark in four subjects: Slovak language and literature, Russian language, Radio Electronic Devices and Telecommunications, would not have ensured acceptance into a Czechoslovakian university in 1985. According to a professor at Carleton University who is currently involved with universities in Czechoslovakia, "the reason was political rather than academic. A lot [of students] who had passed could not get in [to university] because their parents were dissidents or they did not participate in communist youth organizations...Marks were only one criterion and by no means the most important criterion" (interview, 1 February 1991).

This information is supported by documentation. Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1985 states that "discrimination in education and employment is regularly practised against the families of dissidents and religious activists" and is used to deter others from open dissent (1986, 951). Another source suggests that "a corruptible school official may ultimately be the only hope for a young person seeking access to higher education who comes from a politically questionable family" (Ulc 1984, 130). An earlier Information Request cites a former member of a Canadian Czechoslovakian association regarding the necessity of membership in the official youth organization in order to enter university (see the attached excerpt from Information Request 1815). It should be noted, however, that according to the Carleton University professor quoted initially, the situation of 1985 no longer applies; as of late 1989 or 1990, high marks in the subjects listed above would be sufficient to gain acceptance into university, or at least into a technical or vocational university (interview, 1 February 1991).

Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1985. 1986. U.S. Department of State. Washington: U. S. Government Printing Office.

Czechoslovak Helsinki Committee. 1989. Human Rights in Czechoslovakia 1988. Published by International Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights.

Information Request 1815. 21 August 1989.

Professor at Carleton University. Telephone interview. 1 February 1991.

Ulc, Otto. 1984. "Czechoslovakia," Communism in Eastern Europe. Ed. by Teresa Rakowska-Harmstone. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.